NEWARK, N.J. -- As if the Florida Panthers needed yet another injury to a key player, forward Shawn Matthias left Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils briefly after being hit in the face with a deflected puck 9:56 into the second period.
Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov took a shot from the right circle that appeared to be blocked by Devils forward Ryan Carter before hitting Matthias in the face. Matthias left the game on his own power. He returned at the start of the third period with several stitches above his left eye.
Matthias has nine goals and 12 points in 31 games this season.
You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.
— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense